Michigan residents often enjoy burning off some mid-winter blues by riding snowmobiles with family and friends. While going snowmobiling in the winter is a time-honored Michigan tradition, it can also be quite dangerous.
If you plan to head out onto the trails this year (or allow your children to), your first priority must be the safety of the riders, passengers and pedestrians they encounter on the trails. Below is some information that could help keep you and your loved ones safer this snowmobiling season.
Beware of intoxicated riders
The law is clear — no one should do drugs or consume alcohol before or during their snowmobile ride. But just as with drinking and driving, scofflaws increase the dangers for all who enjoy the sport.
If you encounter a group of snowmobilers who appear intoxicated and who are acting in an unsafe manner, choose a trail system elsewhere or call it a day. It’s not worth the risk.
Wear the proper gear
All snowmobile drivers are required to wear helmets. Not only can they save lives in collisions, but helmets with face shields can protect riders from ice chunks and other debris from striking riders’ faces.
Stay at a reasonable speed
The maximum speed for snowmobilers is 45 mph. But that drops to a mere 10 mph at trail junctions. Also, weather and trail conditions can require lower speeds that are considered “reasonable for existing conditions,” as stated in the state Snowmobile Regulations brochure.
Leave wildlife alone
Riders sometimes encounter wild animals on snowmobile trails. They are forbidden from chasing or disturbing them or otherwise causing them distress.
Follow all trail rules
Different tracts of land have site-specific rules to follow, as well as all state, county or municipal regulations in force. Riders must abide by these rules or risk the consequences.
What happens if there is a collision?
If you suffer injuries in a Michigan snowmobiling accident, you may be able to seek compensation from the other parties involved in the collision. Learn more about your rights under the law.